Thursday, January 29, 2009

Council hears numerous presentations on issues of concern

Monday night's Prince Rupert City Council featured a number of presentations to the Committee of the Whole, all of which outlined concerns or developments on a number of issues of concern to the community.

North Coast MLA Gary Coons led off the parade of updates, examining a number of infrastructure hopes, the session was closed a pair of local carvers concerned over a recent eviction notice from the carving shed. Through the presentations city council learned about a new year for communities in bloom, a review of North coast Health Advisory council and a look at the small craft harbour situation at local marine locations in the city.

Wednesday's Daily News featured some of the highlights from the Monday night seminars.

MLA keeps council up to date with his issues
By Monica Lamb-Yorski
The Daily News
Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Page five

Monday night's committee of the whole meeting of city council saw five delegations and presentations from the public.

The first presentation was made by North Coast MLA Gary Coons.

Citing phase two of the port, the fixed link project, alternate energy sources, EI, retraining and vocational development as some of his main concerns, Coons said it's important for all levels of government to work together to push the needs of the region.

One of the key things, Coons said, is health care and the shortage of doctors.
"We as a community have to take charge and play a key role," he said.

Citing the possible demolition of Acropolis Manor in the near future, Coons said the community needs to be assured that the building needs to be torn down.

"Could it be used as a mental or rehab centre, rather than a parking lot?" Coons suggested.
Shaun Thomas and Treena Decker from Communities in Bloom (CIB) asked city council to consider covering the $750 entrance fee for Prince Rupert to participate in the CIB program in 2009.

Councillor Joy Thorkelson said she was impressed with the group's efforts last year and recommended the community should participate again.

The third presentation came from Peggy Davenport and Corinna Mohart from the North Coast Health Advisory Committee (NCHAC) who proposed changes to the Terms of Reference under which the committee operates.

NCHAC is an ad hoc committee of the Prince Rupert council with a purpose of gathering information, informing and providing recommendations to council on health issues.

Changes proposed by the committee suggested membership include an elected member of city council who is also the city's appointee to the North West Regional Hospital District to chair the meetings and that the number of members from the community at large be increased from four to six.

The change in membership would help the committee meet its intent to "make every effort to access input from the community", a change they also want to make under the heading of 'Tasks & Duties'.

Mohart also asked if the meetings could take place at city hall and requested that the city provide a secretary to record minutes.

"If we have our meeting off site from the hospital it will really open the committee up to the community," Mohart said.

When Davenport reminded council that the committee was created by the city, Mussallem assured her that the committee is an advisory committee to city council.

Howard Gray, representing harbour users in Prince Rupert, voiced concerns about the structure of the Port Edward Port Authority.

"I would like to see discussions between the city and Port Edward and see the structure of the Port Edward Port Authority changed," Gray said.

"There seems to be a willingness on the part of the new Port Edward council to make changes. Some of the things that have happened in the past have been a little ridiculous - not coming from harbour users but rather top down," Gray added.

With news of possible infrastructure money being made available, Gray said he felt harbour users and the city were in a poor position to go forward to ask for money for projects.
"It's being done outside of the city's control," Gray said.

Mayor Jack Mussallem responded by stating that the city is not the owner of the waterfront but in the Official Community Plan, the city is working on a new zoning bylaw, development permit areas and a waterfront development plan.

When asked about possible work being done at Cow Bay Floats by the Port Edward Port Authority, Mussallem told Gray he was aware of $700,000 to a million dollars being targeted to re-deck and repair the docks there.

The final delegation was from Tsimshian Carver Henry Green and his wife, Jennifer Davidson, who are concerned after being asked by the Museum of Northern BC to remove their carving supplies from the museum's carving shed.

"We received a notice dated Jan. 17 telling us the shed is going to be renovated and we have to have our things out by Jan. 31," said Davidson.

Green said he felt there has been no consultation with the carvers.
In response, Mussallem encouraged the pair to approach the museum or its board of directors.

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